Deanne Criswell, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), described the wildfires that destroyed the island of Maui as a “scene from an apocalyptic movie.”
Criswell described the aftermath of the Maui fires that left at least 93 people dead on Sunday morning to CBS reporter Jonathan Vigliotti. Wildfires ravaged the historic town of Lahaina last week, leaving hundreds of structures in ruins and many more destroyed.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see an entire community no longer there,” Criswell said. “And I think one of the things that is more shocking, I think, I would say is the roll of cars of people trying to drive and escape and then not get out fast.”
“And these are the ones that end up running or jumping into the water and there are cars there. I mean, it’s like a scene from an apocalyptic movie,” he added.
Maui County officials announced that the death toll rose to 93 over the weekend, surpassing the total death toll of the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California, which left 85 dead. Criswell said FEMA is bringing in multiple teams with multiple dogs to search the area to find the remaining victims.
“But I think one of the challenging things is that many of the areas they are looking for, there are structures that are partially standing and so engineers are attached to them to check the stability of that structure,” he said.
When Vigliotti told Criswell that his sources said the death toll could be in the hundreds, Criswell said he “can’t guess.”
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